International Adoption in 2014 at Lowest Level Since 1982

The State Department's Adoption Division reports that it is difficult to predict when the number of adoptions might rise again after so many years of decline.

International Adoption Statistics in 2014

The most recent State Department figures show that the number of foreign children adopted by United States parents declined by nine percent in 2014, bringing the number to its lowest in thirty three years – only 692 adoptions from the record low of 1982. There were 6,441 international adoptions –  653 less than in 2013. That is 74 percent lower than the peak of 22,884 adoptions from abroad in 2004, a number that has been decreasing ever since. The State Department’s Adoption Division is examining how to reverse the years of decline, but can’t predict when changes to intercountry adoption regulations might make a difference.

The top two countries that U.S. parents adopted from were China and Ethiopia. The largest number of children adopted internationally were from China, a total of 2,040 – a drop of 10 percent from 2013, and a major decline from the 2005 peak of 7,903. The decline may be explained by China’s focus on domestic adoption and curtailing of child abandonment.

There were 716 children adopted from Ethiopia to the U.S. in 2014, a steep drop from the 1,568 adoptions in 2012. This number may also be impacted by domestic policy focused on placing abandoned children with relatives and foster families, and stricter regulation of orphanages to avoid fraud.

The next three countries with the highest adoption rates to the U.S. saw increases from 2013 to 2014. There were 521 children adopted from the Ukraine in 2014, only 438 in 2013. There were 464 children adopted from Haiti, only 388 in 2013, and 370 from South Korea  – a rise from 138 in 2013.

An adoption ban issued by Russia as retaliation for a U.S. law sanctioning human-rights violations drastically changed the country’s representation in U.S. figures. As recently as 2012, Russia was one of the largest countries represented with 748 children adopted to the U.S. After the ban, the number decreased to 250 in 2013, and a mere two in 2014.

The United States has suspended adoption from several countries including Vietnam, Cambodia, Guatemala and Nepal for fear of child trafficking and baby-selling. Limited adoptions from Vietnam may be possible soon under a limited program for children with special needs. Additionally, the Guatemalan government is working with the U.S. to complete approximately 14 adoptions that were in progress before the suspension.

92 American children were adopted internationally in 2014 – 46 by Canadian families, and 27 by families from the Netherlands.

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